Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
We all like to cover our tracks sometimes. We don’t like to be found out as the pragmatists we are. We would prefer to ignore our inconsistencies. In Matthew 21:23-27 Jesus confronts some of the chief priests and elders who would like to trap him. Where did his authority come from? Jesus’ response tells them to come clean on their attitude about John’s baptism.
On the surface, these two issues seem unrelated. However, they are both related to God’s authority. Is God the one who is bringing repentance and forgiveness through John? Is it the same God who is healing people through Jesus’ hands? Is this kingdom of God which Jesus proclaims the very presence of the true God of Israel?
The chief priests don’t want to admit that the people are right. John seems to be a genuine prophet sent from the true God with a message of repentance which is completely in line with Moses and the prophets. Yet if they admit John they will be forced to admit Jesus. They have no desire to do this. What will they do?
Sadly, the chief priests do what most of us do. Not wanting to admit that Jesus is acting in the authority of God the Father, they choose not to pursue the question at present. It’s tabled. And it will remain tabled until it fits their pragmatic purpose to bring it out again, after Jesus has been arrested and is headed for his death sentence.
The question this passage raises for us is whether we are willing to have our attitudes changed by the truth claims of Scripture. Is Jesus really who he seems to be? Then we need to allow God to be God. Our role becomes that of a repentant sinner who looks to the Lord for mercy and grace in our time of need. We will surely find him faithful as the Lord who restores us to the right relationship with the Father.
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